June 30, 2015 on 3:51 pm | In Community, From the shop, Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Races, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by TriSports Team athlete Lori Sherlock. We’re at that point in the season where it may be hard to drop much time on your swim, bike or run, but what about your transition? Often an afterthought, Lori gives us a few tips to help gain some free time. Follow Lori on Twitter – @tightcalves.
Transition is known in triathlon as the 4th discipline for a reason. It can allow you to gain time on your competitors or allow your competitors to gain time on you. These 5 simple steps, plus a properly packed transition bag, can help you to streamline your transitions to make them faster and more efficient.
Simplify your Transition
Put a lot of forethought into your transition and don’t put out anything that you don’t need. Including items that you are not planning on using will only elongate your transition times. You should make all of your decisions prior to your race and mentally review what your T1 & T2 will look like.
Your transition area should be a well-organized area with everything readily accessible to you as you are coming out of the water or moving from bike to run. Using a small towel, or transition towel, to mark your spot is always a good idea. Get a towel that is bright and unique to help you recognize your transition area and set it apart from everyone else. All of your necessities should be placed in the order you plan to use them to eliminate any confusion from your transition. Think TYPE A PERSONALITY when you are setting up your transition area.
Every step in transition should be a well-thought-out plan. This will allow for great execution come race day. As you are nearing the finish of the swim leg, picture what your transition area will look like and what you need to grab, put on, or eat. As you are coming to the end of the bike leg you should be thinking about what your next step will be. Don’t think too far ahead…that can be overwhelming and deleterious to your race performance. Use mental imagery just as you are finishing each leg to prepare yourself for what is next….bike….run….FINISH LINE!
As our parents, teachers and coaches have always told us: practice makes perfect! This motto rings true about transitions, too! There is a reason that we call this the 4th discipline!! We take time to build our fitness, practice our swimming, biking and running, we should also be putting in the extra time to practice our transitions. The clock doesn’t stop for transitions, so this can end up being time lost in our race. When you are practicing your transitions, try to mimic EVERYTHING EXACTLY AS YOU WOULD DO IT ON RACE DAY. Set out your transition towel, your bike shoes, run shoes, socks, helmet, sunglasses, nutrition, gloves, whatever you plan on using for the next A-race so that when you get to your transition you know exactly what you want to do and the order you want to do it. Consider this “free time” for your next triathlon.
Packing Your Transition Bag:
When you are packing your transition bag, go through your checklist of what you will need from swim-to-bike-to-run. The amount of stuff that you load up your bag with will probably be dependent upon what distance race you are doing.
For a sprint triathlon, you should only need the basics: pre-, during- and post-race nutrition, goggles, swim cap (usually provided by the race but take one just in case), Aquaphor or BodyGlide, bike, cycling shoes (& socks if you choose), helmet, sunglasses, extra tube and the tools to change it, water bottles, running shoes, race belt and hat/visor, Garmin or heart rate monitor (if you train with them).
A half-Iron distance race is going to require a bit more planning and a lot more nutrition. Your transition bag should include: pre-, during- and post-race nutrition, goggles, swim cap (usually provided by the race but take one just in case), wetsuit or speedsuit, Aquaphor or BodyGlide, possibly cycling shorts (depending on comfort on the bike), bike, cycling shoes (& socks if you choose), helmet, sunglasses, cycling gloves (for comfort), spare tube x 2 and the tools to change it, water bottles, running shoes, tri shorts if you want to change, race belt and hat/visor, Garmin or heart rate monitor (if you train with them), salt/electrolyte tabs.
Iron-distance races are a whole different ball-game. Though there are transition areas, your gear is usually in a bag that you have to go through at T1 & T2. This makes it even more important to plan as you normally turn your bag in the day prior to your race….so check and double check that all of your necessities are in the bag before you turn it in. Everything that you need for the half-iron distance you will need for the Iron-distance plus a bunch more nutrition and maybe a few more ‘comfort items’. You will also need a pump (unless you plan on using one provided at the race venue or borrowing one from a fellow competitor) and maybe some chain lube if you want to freshen up your chain before you take off. You should probably be wearing your racing kit…and maybe some slip-on shoes that could be tossed if the walk to the swim entry is a little rough. You may also want to pack some post-race clothing or something warm if the weather is threatening. If you feel like you need someone to go over your list with you can check out www.racechecklist.com
After compiling this load of stuff into one HUGE transition bag, you will need to organize it perfectly at your race site. Rule of thumb: DON’T BE A TRANSITION HOG! Only use the space directly in front of or next to your bike (depending on transition set-up) so that you don’t infringe on another competitor’s transition space.
Race-to-Race Just in Case Bag:
This is a zip-lock bag that you keep stocked and in your transition bag for all of those just in case moments.
- Small pair of Scissors
- First Aid supplies (Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, tape)…just in case
- Black Sharpie Marker
- A copy of your USAT card
- Safety Pins
- Aquaphor or BodyGlide
- Extra Nutrition
- Clean-up kit (travel size soap, wash cloth, deodorant, comb or brush)
- Extra race belt
- Extra goggles (one thing that people have a tendency to forget a little too often)
- Duct tape/black electrical tape
- Empty water bottle (another frequently forgotten item)
April 8, 2015 on 12:52 pm | In Athlete Profile, Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | No Comments
This blog brought to you by longtime TriSports athlete Karin Bivens. With many IRONMAN™ races under her belt, she is well-versed on training and racing. Check out her top 10 tips to ensure you are well-prepared for your next attempt at the full distance. Check out Karin’s blog or follow her on Twitter – konakarin.
As a 10-time IRONMAN™ finisher, including 5 IRONMAN™World Championships and a 3rd place podium finish in Kona in 2009, I was recently asked for training tips by someone who was planning to sign up for his first IRONMAN™ (Arizona) since, as he put it, I was a “seasoned veteran!” I was somewhat surprised and also flattered that he would value my input. I thought about it and here are my Top 10 Tips for IRONMAN™ training:
1) GET STRONG ON THE BIKE!
- Although you do need distance, put in the speed work, too. I did some Time Trials which really helped me push my pace under race conditions. If you don’t want to sign up for a Time Trial race, you can measure a 20K and/or 40K stretch of road (typical Time Trial distance) and then periodically (i.e., once every 2 or 3 weeks) do your own Time Trial and try to better your time.
- Bike with stronger people – I tend to do the hard rides (trying to include hills) with fast riders on all kinds of days (windy, hot, etc.).
- Welcome the wind – let the wind be your training friend! The wind will make you strong and also confident that you can handle it.
2) DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION!
- I had the good fortune to hear Bob Seebohar speak (www.fuel4mance.com – Dietitian for Olympians, elite athletes and mere mortals). He indicates that much of the G.I. distress that athletes encounter is not because they eat too little, but because they eat too much! He emphasizes training your body to utilize its own stored energy. I use his book, Metabolic Efficiency Training, as a guide. Another great book of his is Nutrition Periodization for Athletes.
- Personally, I do better with “real food” and try to avoid or at least minimize products with ingredients I cannot pronounce.
- Most of my solid nutrition is on the bike. I eat the bars and gels that consist of real food without all the additives. In my bike Special Needs Bag, I pack a peanut butter and honey sandwich (cut into quarters) and really look forward to ingesting something other than nutrition bars and gels. One year at IRONMAN™ Canada, I stopped to get my sandwich from my Special Needs Bag and there was Sister Madonna Buder eating her sandwich. When I asked her what was on it, she replied, “Peanut butter and a pickle!” So eat something that works for you. I would, however, advise against putting something in your Special Needs Bag that could spoil (I’ve heard of people putting a Big Mac in their Special Needs Bag and wondered how safe it was to eat after sitting there all day and often in hot weather). I also carry my preferred Electrolyte drink on the bike and pack a frozen bottle of it in my Special Needs Bag which helps keep it cooler.
- On the run I tend to stick mostly with liquids (water, electrolyte drink) and gels. Do find out what electrolyte drink will be served on the course and train with it! It is difficult to pack enough of your preferred drink for the entire race. Also, there is a possibility that you could lose your nutrition/drink. At IRONMAN™ France, my Bike Special Needs Bag could not be located! My system hasn’t always favored the electrolyte drink served on the course, but training with it helps, as well as putting a small amount over a cup of ice or else just diluting it. You can pack some of your preferred drink in your Special Needs Bag, but you still may need to drink what is on the course. I found that sipping some Coke over ice can be a real pick-up and can be settling to the stomach! I remember doing St. Croix 70.3 and Chris “Macca” McCormack was volunteering on the run course handing out Coke (after he finished the race). He told me, “Take some as it will give you FAST LEGS!”
3) WORK ON TRANSITIONS!
- This is “free time!” I have friends who have missed out on the podium, even though they swam, biked and ran faster than their opponent. They lost it in transitions. There are lots of good videos online about efficient transitions.
- Take advantage of transition clinics. You are bound to pick up some small tip that can save time.
- Train for transitions. I keep my bike in the garage with my helmet/gloves on the aerobars and my bike shoes next to the bike. Whenever I head out on the bike, I put on my shoes while standing so that I become efficient at this. My husband will sit down in a chair to put on his bike shoes and then in a race, he still needs to sit down to put on his shoes. This takes more time and often space is tight at the bike rack, so learn to put on your shoes while standing.
4) BECOME MORE EFFICIENT AT SWIMMING!
- I am not a particularly fast swimmer, but I have learned to become efficient and come out of the swim without wasting too much energy and am ready to bike. If you can, join a Masters swim program. It will really help. Swimming is so technique-based that you might want to consider taking some lessons to make your swim more efficient. You can also read books or watch videos on swim technique (www.swimsmooth.com, www.totalimmersion.net or some of the videos by Dave Scott) or, if possible, take a Total Immersion clinic.
- Practice sighting as you will need it to make sure you are on course.
- Practice bi-lateral breathing. I favor breathing on my right side and am more comfortable on swim courses that are clockwise but that isn’t always the case and sometimes things like wave action can make breathing on the other side more desirable. It also can help balance out your stroke. Your head/neck can get pretty tired of turning the same way for 2.4 miles.
5) VARY YOUR RUN TRAINING.
- When I trained for my first triathlon (with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Team-in-Training”), I was extremely fortunate to have a Pro triathlete (Tim Sheeper) as a coach. He said to regularly run coming off the bike, even if it is just for 10 minutes, to get your legs adjusted to “running after biking.” Of course, there are days when you have longer runs following the bike and days when you just focus on the run, but get accustomed to running off the bike.
- I found that doing some shorter running races (i.e., 5Ks, 10Ks) really helped with my speed as there can be a tendency to run long (but slow) distances. So train yourself to run fast, as well.
- Run hills – this will help make you stronger. Even if you are training for a flat run, think how much easier it will be, and if it’s a hilly run, you’ll be better prepared than much of your competition.
- Doing some shorter triathlons and at least one long course race prior to doing the IRONMAN™ will help with experience, training, nutrition, pacing and transitions.
7) MIMIC RACE CONDITIONS!
- Find out what conditions are highly possible on the course. Train for it. I cannot tell you how many races I have done where the winds have picked up. This year at IMAZ, the winds were fierce and there were many DNFs due to missing the bike cut-off. I always think the Pros have it easier as conditions tend to worsen as the day goes on. By training in wind (refer to the bike tips previously mentioned), you will better be able to deal with them. The same goes for heat. If it is likely to be hot on race day, train for heat. Heck, train for heat even if it isn’t usual at that particular event. One year when I did IRONMAN™ Canada, it was unseasonably hot, but not as hot as training in Tucson, so I had a good race whereas the heat, and the resulting GI distress on the run, had some calling it “Vomit-man” (yuck)! You also need to consider the opposite: cold. Be prepared. When I did IRONMAN™ Switzerland (held in July), there was a rainstorm and colder temperatures, especially as we biked into the higher elevations. I remember being cold on the bike but luckily had a cycling jersey in my bike bag (a jacket would have been even more helpful). Consider the terrain. Is it a flat course? Technical course? Hilly course? Train for it! If you are planning to do a hilly course, but live in an area where it is quite flat, you may need to bike on a trainer to mimic hill work, or find the highest point you can (i.e., ramps, bridges) and do repeats or consider another race that is less hilly. Humidity or lack thereof also plays a role. Conditions will determine nutritional needs. I find that in the hotter races, I eat less/drink more and need lots more salt supplements. So, again, train under a variety of conditions so that you will be better prepared. These races are hard under perfect conditions, throw some unexpected weather in and it can knock you out of the game. Don’t let all that training go to waste…practice!
8 ) HAVE A PLAN!
- You cannot just WING it in an IRONMAN™! Consider hiring a coach. If you cannot afford a coach, there are training plans online and books on training. Joe Friel’s The Triathlete’s Training Bible is a great guide… but there are many others out there.
9) TRAIN ALONE!
- Although training with faster people can help make you faster and keep you going, you also need to train alone and tune into your own workout so you don’t get caught up in someone else’s workout or find that you’ve extended yourself when you should have taken an easy day or a recovery workout.
- Training alone can improve your mental toughness. In an IRONMAN™, you are basically out there on your own doing your own race. You will need to dig deep, especially when your body is not saying anything nice! You can draw from the experience of having trained alone.
10) BE THANKFUL THAT YOU GET TO DO THIS!
- I’ve often said that the best part of these events is the great people you meet who share a similar lifestyle. Races often become reunions. I have made great friends along the way, some in my age group, and when we are racing, we duke it out and push each other to greater heights! The camaraderie is a bonus of these events! No matter what the outcome, be thankful of the fact that you are out there! It’s all good and you learn from every race!
March 23, 2015 on 3:53 pm | In Community, Employee Adventures, From the shop, Product Information, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship | No Comments
This blog brought to you by former TriSports Champion Dan Dezess (former only because his wife now works for us and he gets all the benefits of being part of the team, anyway!). With the race season upon us, many people spend a ton of time researching how to travel with their bike. Ship it? Fly with it? Bike transport? Here’s one man’s experiences flying with his bike.
I love triathlons and I love to travel. Who doesn’t? Now put the two together and it could be a little intimidating, frustrating and, not to mention, stressful! Questions about how the bike will fare under the scrutiny of TSA inspections, how much it costs to ship and the horror of “what if something happens to it between point a and point b?” race through one’s mind.
I have done a few “fly-aways” throughout the years and each time I think I have it mastered, I learn something new.
The first time I flew was for the 2010 Big Kahuna Triathlon in Santa Cruz, CA. I had just bought a Velo Safe Pro-series Bike Box from TriSports.com. I packed it with care, making sure that nothing could move which could damage the bike. Flying to San Francisco was fine. Coming back, however, I found that the company outsourced by TSA to inspect baggage did not re-secure the tool bag I had packed in the box. Lesson learned – do not put excess items in the bike box! What if it had shifted during the flight or handling and had damaged the bike? Shudder!
In July of 2011 while packing for Ironman Racine 70.3, I felt like I had a handle on the travel thing. Again the box was packed with care, foam padding and all. After some thought, I also decided it couldn’t hurt to place a nice little note inside asking them to please re-secure the items and thanking them for keeping us safe. A little kindness could go a long way.
All was well until I boarded the airplane. As I sat down and looked out the window, I saw, much to my horror, the airline baggage handler grab the box (which was upside down on the cart) and flip it end over end onto the conveyer belt, landing on its side and up into the airplane. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I dreaded what I would find upon landing.
We arrived in Detroit and I anxiously made my way to baggage claim. I found the box and opened it. The bike was fine, but the wheels were no longer secured. The end result was a nick in each race wheel about the diameter of a pencil eraser. I immediately went to the airline baggage office to file a claim, but was told that I needed to do that at the home airport. Fortunately, I was able to patch the wheels with fiberglass filler. Meanwhile, my wife and I researched what we needed in order to file a claim. We had all of our ducks in a row, or so we thought.
Back in Tucson, we went straight to the airline baggage office to file. To make a long story short, the airline denied responsibility despite the fact that we had photos showing the box being mishandled. They stated they were not responsible for damage done due to my lack of making sure it was safely packed. Lesson #2 learned – pack your wheels in wheel bags, or a separate wheel box, and do not expect the airline to pay for damages.
Determined to finally master the art of traveling with a bike, I invested in a wheel box and decided to fly non-stop from a larger airport nearby to lessen the number of times the box would have to be moved, and thus reducing the chance of it being man-handled. At baggage check in Phoenix, on the way to the 2012 Ironman New Orleans 70.3, I was happy to see that the workers recognized that it was a bike box and knew it contained fragile cargo. Finally a problem-free trip!
After New Orleans, I read about a product called Albopads in a triathlon magazine. They are re-useable pads with Velcro that you attach to the bike frame during transport. I decided to ditch most of the worn Styrofoam padding in favor of the newer, less bulky pads.
I used the same non-stop flight strategy to travel to Ironman Steelhead 70.3, again with much success. Flying conquered. Piece of cake!
Just when you think you know it all, though, something happens. I checked in for my flight for the Rocketman 70.3 in Orlando. Not quite a non-stop flight, as it stopped in Saint Louis, but at least we got to stay on the same plane. All was well until my wife and I had to stop near where over-sized baggage was manually inspected. I was rummaging through my backpack when I overheard the TSA baggage inspector tell the other inspector, “We have a HAZMAT.”
Being a firefighter, I knew what HAZMAT meant and was a very alarmed. I looked over and them standing around my open bike box. Oh no. I wracked my brain trying to think of what I could possibly have packed that could cause such panic. What if the airport was shut down? Yikes! It turned out it was the CO2 cartridges. They are apparently banned by the FAA from being transported on aircraft. I had never heard of that before, but now I know not to pack them. Ever.
Just when you think you think you have the game figured out, you get thrown another curveball. Live and learn. I can deal with all that, though, as long as the bike gets there safely!
February 24, 2015 on 2:32 pm | In Athlete Profile, Community, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship | No Comments
This blog brought to you by Meredith Yox, TriSports Champion and super-mom. Youth races are popping up all over, but what do you tell your young’un when they ask you about it? Here’s your chance to let them hear about it from the perspective of another kid. Check out Meredith’s blog and follow her on Twitter – @cabullydogs.
Sydney Yox is a nine year old fourth grader who, after three years of competitive running and swimming, decided to try her first triathlon last August. The following is an interview conducted with her after completing her first triathlon.
Why did you decide to try triathlon?
When I saw my Mom do all the triathlons and she told me how it was and how she did, it sounded fun. Then my Mom asked me if I wanted to try a triathlon since I had gotten comfortable on a two wheel bike, and I did.
How were you feeling before your first one?
I was feeling really nervous. I was trying to focus on one thing at a time and how it would all work out. How I would run and what it would be like to do it all.
Did you have any plan before the race?
My Mom told me to focus on one thing at a time. The swimming first, then focus on the biking when I was on the bike, and then focus on the run during the run. So that’s what I did.
How did you feel when you finished the swim?
I didn’t have a cramp, and I didn’t feel tired. So I said to myself, “Okay. Focus on the bike now!”
How was transition?
It was really hard because I was all wet, and it was hard to dry off and get my helmet on over my pony tail. It also was really hard when I came back because someone had put their bike in my spot.
How did you feel on the bike?
I didn’t feel too bad. I didn’t feel tired. But I was scared because there were bumps in the road, and I was scared I would fall. But I was able to do it.
Once you made it to the run what was going through your head?
My body was saying, “You’re almost done. You’re almost there! You haven’t stopped yet, and you haven’t slowed down. You’re almost at the finish, and you can do it!”
How did it feel to cross the finish line?
I felt really good because I had just completed my first triathlon! I was really tired, and my throat was sore from breathing too hard. I felt proud of myself when they gave me my medal.
What’s your favorite part about multi-sport events?
I really like the biking because it’s easier than the swimming and running.
Now that you have completed one triathlon and one duathlon what’s next?
The SuperKid triathlon in Santa Cruz, CA.
If you met another kid who was thinking about doing a triathlon what would tell them?
Don’t be nervous, you’re going to be great! It’s actually really fun!
Editor’s note: Is your child interested in trying a tri? TriSports has a whole lot of kid-specific gear. Check it out here!
September 18, 2013 on 1:01 pm | In Community, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship | 1 Comment
This fun blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Scott Perrine, who is about to compete at the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe.
All history ties the roots of Triathlon back to San Diego, CA in the early 1970s, but after spending the last two years in the San Francisco Bay, and on Alcatraz Island completing some concrete restoration work, I believe Triathlon may actually have its roots tied to Alcatraz. There is even a Triathlon named Escape from Alcatraz which I competed in this year.
Not possible you say? A simple look at the history of Alcatraz and the attempted escape of John Anglin, Clarence Anglin, Frank Morris and Allen West shows many similarities to Triathlon and multi sport. While a prison escape is obviously not a sport, there is a lot of preparation and dedication required for both, even some failed attempts along the way.
Start with the preparation. John, Clarence, Frank and Allen began their planning and preparation in September of 1961, eight months before their attempted escape. They spent every minute allowable planning and working towards their escape. Many of us that race long course competition dedicate eight months or more to training. We focus and plan for the event, training for the worst and hoping for the best. We spend countless hours focused on that specific event, sacrificing time with friends and family, sleep, etc.
They created tools to chip away at the concrete in their cells; we continually develop new “aero” equipment to make us go faster. They designed wetsuits utilizing raincoats to survive the swim through the San Francisco Bay; we continually develop wetsuits utilizing the latest technologies in neoprene to get us through the water faster.
The night of their escape they crawled through the openings they dug in their cells, climbed up through the service corridor to the roof and out to the Northeastern side of the Island and jumped into the water, that is a lot to go through just to go jump in the water. At the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, you get up early in the morning and head to the race site, set up your transition, get onto a crowded bus and ride over to the ferry, crowd onto the ferry and head over to the Island, then everyone jumps off the ferry and off you go. Adrenaline is racing as you jump off the boat, imagine what is was like for the guys that night in 1962.
They jumped into the water in the darkness of night during the incoming tide, fighting the currents and the cold. Some of their belongings were found washed up on the Shore of Angel Island the next morning. We jumped into the water during the early hours of the morning sunrise with an outgoing tide, had to cross three different current flows (as well as fight all the other competitors) and a majority of us swam (some washed up) onto the Shore in front of the St Francis Yacht Club.
A few other similarities:
- Allen West was unable to fit through the hole he had dug into the wall of his cell and never made it out to meet up with the other three. The first DNS (Did Not Start)?
- The other three were never found. The first DNF… we will never know?
- The FBI closed their case against the three 17 years after they escaped. In Ironman competition they close the finish line after 17 hours?
While the original Escape from Alcatraz was not a triathlon in any true sense of the meaning and I have taken some great liberties tying them together, it is fun to compare true history to activities we enjoy in our daily lives. What triathlons have you done where you can intertwine history with the event in this type of manner? Give it a try and see how creative you can be…. It will definitely help you get through some of those “dark holes” we sometimes go through during our training and racing!
September 11, 2013 on 9:37 am | In Community, Races, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Training | 3 Comments
This blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Nicole Ramsbey. Check out her blog at www.nicoleramsbey.com and follow her on Twitter – nicoleramsbey.
I raced a sprint tri the other weekend and was not in peak form to say the least. I managed to perform, and perform not too badly, which led me to thinking about a few things. One of the things I started thinking about was how much of triathlon is physical fitness and how much is mental fitness? At this point in the season when you may be approaching your ‘A’ race, now’s the time to figure it out.
I guess my first thought was, how many people, when they reach a tough moment, give in to the negative Nancy talk? I hit many negative points throughout racing, but rarely do I “give in” to those thoughts. Say you are coming up on a big hill during a sprint tri, you’re maxing out your heart rate and you get halfway up…what’s the first thing that you typically hear in your head? Is it, “I can’t do this anymore, I have to walk”? If that’s a typical thought process for you, how do you respond to it?
If you respond by giving up the race in your mind and walking, then I’d have to say your mental toughness might need a swift kick in the @**. I may get this thought once in a while, but I immediately counter it with a positive thought. During the sprint tri, I had my own mental battle, but I won. Every time a negative thought comes to mind, I always attempt to counter it with a positive. Last weekend when I hit the hill, I had to remind myself that I can do anything for a mile. My responses are almost automatic now, and if yours aren’t they will get to be that way if you continually work at it.
I’d say mental toughness is at least half of triathlon…if you can’t handle the mental stuff then the fitness won’t matter. Even though you may not be physically fit, if you are mentally fit going into a race, you can still do well. Imagine the day that you are physically AND mentally fit…you can OWN that day like no other. Don’t short change yourself, and remember it’s not always about how many miles you’ve logged.
August 1, 2013 on 3:25 am | In Races, Random Musings | 1 Comment
This fun blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Liz Miller (who also happens to be a geologist). Check out her blog at www.femwnliz.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter – FeWmnLiz.
What factors do you consider when signing up for races? How close the race is to where you live? Or whether the race destination would also make for a good vacation? Most triathletes like to plan and give careful consideration to every race that we sign up for, but sometimes even the best-laid plans can get sidetracked. Just in 2012, the Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans swim was cancelled due to unsafe water conditions, and the bike course at Boise 70.3 was shortened to just 12 miles due to SNOW on the course (in June!). Some of the pro men even rode in their wetsuits, due to the 47 degree air temperature! But the chance of cold weather or choppy water isn’t the only thing that you should consider when signing up for your next race. I’d like to propose another factor to consider – geology! I know this is a triathlon blog, but how about we “switch gears” and talk some science.
I should preface this blog post by pointing out that geology has indeed affected some Ironman races in the past. Just 6 days before the 2006 Ironman World Championship race in Kona, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the island. Reports say that in the days before the earthquake hit, Kona was unusually hot and humid, and in the days after the earthquake, the area got slammed with torrential downpours. On the day of the race, skies were overcast and winds were light – a beautiful day for racing. But, at about 7:20 PM, a torrential downpour happened on Ali’i Drive. Some athletes had to wade through knee deep water just to make it to the finish line. Within an hour the downpour had stopped and the water receded. So earthquakes really can affect your race, even if the quake doesn’t actually happen on race day!
Now, in order to determine which races are safer (geologically speaking), we need a quick geology introduction. The Earth’s outer shell is made up of plates which are constantly moving. Most geologic activity occurs as a result of the interaction between these plates. There are three types of plate boundaries:
1. Convergent boundaries are boundaries where plates collide. At these boundaries, plates are colliding to form mountain ranges, or one plate is diving down beneath the other plate in a process called subduction.
2. Divergent boundaries are boundaries where two plates are moving away from each other. Magma can rise to the surface at divergent boundaries, forming new crustal material.
3. Transform boundaries are boundaries where two plates slide past each other. As the plates slowly move past one another, pressure builds until the plates rupture in one big movement, causing an earthquake. The San Andreas fault in California is a transform boundary and is responsible for the frequency of earthquakes in California.
Here’s the United States Geological Survey’s simplified map of plate tectonics; the red arrows indicate plate direction. Arrows pointing towards each other represent convergent boundaries; arrows pointing in opposite directions represent divergent boundaries; arrows that are side-by-side represent a transform boundary.
The other geologic hazard that should be considered before registering for a race is hot spots – the kind formed by liquid hot magma, not the painful ones on your feet at the end of a marathon. Hot spots are areas where magma is able to make its way up to the surface and form volcanic features. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the best known examples of hot spot volcanism – these islands have formed as the Pacific Plate moves over the Hawaiian hotspot. AND hot spots can also experience seismic activity. In the image below, the Hawaiian Island chain is visible in the center of the picture; this chain has formed as the Pacific Plate has slowly moved over the Hawaiian hot spot.
Now, let’s compare the geologic maps to TriMapper’s map of Ironman races around the world.
The Australian races are probably safe. Australia sits on a large plate of its own, and the plate boundaries are a significant distance from the continent itself. Ironman New Zealand could be problematic – the plate boundary runs right through the north and south islands! The earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011 was in February, and Ironman New Zealand is typically early March. Japan is also at risk, since it is located on a plate boundary. In 2011, a very large earthquake hit Japan, causing tsunamis, structural damage, and a nuclear release. I wouldn’t want to be racing in that environment! Additionally, Japan has historically had some of the largest earthquakes, causing the most damage and casualties.
Most of the North American races are in the clear, except for Ironman Canada – Whistler is located near the triple junction of the North American plate, Juan de Fuca plate, and Pacific Plate.
The Ironman races in Mexico aren’t looking too promising – Cabo San Lucas is near the triple junction of the North American plate, Cocos plate, and Pacific plate, and Cozumel sits pretty close to a plate boundary too. In fact, the United States Geological Survey calls Mexico one of the world’s most seismically active areas. But further to the south, Ironman Brazil looks to be in the clear, since Brazil is located near the center of the South American plate.
Ironman South Africa and Lanzarote are both centrally located on the African plate and are probably safe bets.
Some of the European races might be a little risky – Ironman Wales and UK are probably far enough away from a plate boundary, as well as Ironman Kalmar and the Ironman European Championship. But Ironman Switzerland, Austria, and France are getting a little close to the Eurasian and African plate boundary.
So, out of 29 Ironman events worldwide, at least 8 Ironmans are located at or near plate boundaries. That’s nearly 30%! Not to mention the fact that the Ironman World Championship race is located on an island that is still being formed by an active volcano. I certainly won’t complain about making it to Kona one day to race, but in the meantime, I might stick with the North American races (or convince my boyfriend to buy a plane ticket to Australia…).
Here’s a map of all the Ironman 70.3 races – I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which races are safer than others!
May 29, 2013 on 1:13 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Races, Sponsorship, Training, Training | No Comments
This post was written by TriSports Triathlon Team member Zara Guinard.
So you just signed up for a race that is not within 20 miles of your house; hotel, flight, and rental car are all booked. The next question is, “how do you ensure you arrive at your destination (relatively) stress free, prepared, and ready to race?” You must plan. I mean REALLY plan. First you have Plan A, and then you have Plan B, Plan C, and maybe even a Plan D.
It is my experience in the past few years of traveling to races that things will always go wrong, but you can minimize your stress by arriving well prepared. I always do a little research on the area where I’m staying and find out the projected weather conditions for my time there, a layout of the area such as restaurants near the hotel, and distances to the expo and the airport.
Now that you know what the conditions and weather will most likely be on race day, it’s time to pack. I have a list that I print out (packing list at the end of the article) every time I go to a race. I only cross off an item once it is packed away. Sometimes I don’t need all the items for where I’m traveling, but its comprehensiveness ensures that I won’t absent-mindedly forget something.
I travel with a Rüster Sports Hen House, my wheel bag, and a backpack.
In my bike bag I put everything that I need to race: wetsuit, race suit, bike and run shoes, goggles, nutrition, bike tools, etc. Then in the wheel bag I pack all the rest of my clothes and toiletries. My backpack is my carry on and where I usually keep all my expensive electronic items such as my iPod and Garmin 910 XT.
Okay your bags are packed and you’re ready to go! Wait, what about nutrition?! Traveling to a race can be stressful on your body; you may be switching to a different time zone or your flight may be at an odd hour of the day. So how do you ensure that you are fueling properly to have a great race? That’s right! You plan. When traveling to a race in Florida where I knew that I would be going pretty much all day nonstop, this is what I packed for food:
I made sure to have my dinner food (the brown rice and avocado) with me. That way when I arrived at my destination I could focus on building my bike, and getting to bed, since my race was the following morning.
Okay, so you have your clothes, gear and food. After flying and driving for what seemed like centuries, you have finally made it to the hotel and now you can …rebuild your bike!!! For those who travel often, it is more economical to be able to pack and rebuild your bike on your own. If you have the means, there are often companies that will break down, ship and rebuild your bike for you. I happen to be very protective of my bikes and, as taught to me by my coach Trista Francis of iTz Multisport, I won’t let anyone touch my bike in the break down or re-build process. Only I know exactly how it is supposed to be for race day. Even after multiple assembly processes I still find it helpful to take pictures just in case in that frustrated, foggy, post-travel phase, you accidentally put your fork in backwards…not that I’ve ever done that of course.
Congratulations! You arrived at your destination with everything you need, a functioning bike, and either food for dinner or a contingency plan for the closest restaurant. Now it’s time to relax, hydrate, and enjoy a race outside of your own backyard!
- Bike shoes
- Race flats
- Race Wheels
- Bike Tools
- Blister powder
- Race Belt
- Water bottles
- Drink Calories
- Garmin Charger
- Running Tights
- Long Sleeve Tech Shirt
- Cell phone charger
- iPod Shuffle
- Podium Shirt/Skirt
- Comb/Hair ties
- Jean Shorts
- Tank top
- Trisports t-shirt
- Trisports run shirt
- Compression Socks
- Eye mask
- Foam Roller
- Tennis Ball
- Running Shoes
- Gatorade powder
- Race Notebook/Pen, pencil
April 18, 2013 on 10:54 am | In Races, Sponsorship | No Comments
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend USAT Collegiate Nationals in Tempe, AZ. I haven’t been to a college national championship in over a decade – back when it was held in conjunction with Wildflower. Back in the day, the college kids would just be lumped in with the rest of the Wildflower Olympic race. The race and venue were great, heck, we didn’t know the difference. Actually, the naked run we would do was a bigger highlight than the race itself.
Fast forward to now: USAT has full control of the race – a move by our national governing body that has many race directors up in arms (they don’t feel USAT should be producing races). I am here to tell you that USAT has made the right move by taking over the race; they are providing an experience for collegiate triathletes that no one else can consistently deliver. What an incredible experience for all of the college athletes that make the annual pilgrimage to this great event (the race site moves around the country every two years). This year they had a total of three races over two days: on Friday there was the first ever ITU Draft Legal Collegiate race, on Saturday morning was the Olympic non-drafting race and on Saturday afternoon was the Super Sprint Relay.
If you have never seen an ITU Draft Legal race, I can tell you as a veteran of 25+ years in the sport that they are really exciting to watch – especially when it comes to college racing. It’s like March Madness all rolled into a one hour race in April, with kids who aren’t getting huge scholarships to compete. As cool as the ITU race was, the Super Sprint Relay was incredibly fun to watch. The relay teams are comprised of two women and two men; each athlete does a very short triathlon of 250m swim, 5km bike and 1.2km run – about 15 min of anaerobic amusement.
I haven’t seen this much pure fun in the sport for many years; it was the most enjoyable time I have had watching the sport I have grown up with. Of course, it’s even better when you sponsor the team (my alma mater) with the men’s winner of the ITU and Olympic race (University of Arizona TriCat – Ben Kanute) as well as sponsor the women’s Olympic winner (Colorado – Michelle Mehnert) .
January 23, 2013 on 8:50 am | In Nutrition Tips, Races | 1 Comment
What easy triathlon tips can you use to become a faster triathlete? What unusual triathlon tips do pro triathletes give to beginners? There are lots of lists of triathlon tips out there (eat your Wheaties, be sure to stay hydrated, take your bike helmet off for the run – don’t laugh, I’ve seen people forget that one), but most of those triathlon tips you can think of yourself, or are pretty obvious.
This is a list of triathlon tips I have assembled, focusing on actually useful tips to being a faster triathlete, but ones that I am confident you have not heard before. On each one of the triathlon tips you can click the links for more detail.
Added Bonus- There are actually 13 triathlon tips for the price of 10!
1.Carb-load properly the day before the race:
- This is one of those things that everyone thinks they know how to do but very few people get right
- The day before the race focus on eating a LOT of easy to digest (and pass through) carbohydrates!
- Eat them early in the day (pancakes and syrup?)
- Your target is 15 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight- this is a LOT. Think ~2 lb of pasta.
- Eliminate non-carb foods the day before the race so you are not overwhelmed by calories
- You can read more details on how to carb load properly for a triathlon.
Swimming: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Swim
2. Learn how to draft on the swim!
- It’s not that hard to do, its 100% legal, and it saves a ton of energy.
- One great spot to draft while swimming is right behind someone- everyone knows this one.
- The secret great spot for drafting is next to the lead swimmer, but half a body length back.
- You can see a lot more detail on this triathlon tip here: draft while swimming in a triathlon.
Biking: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Bike
3. Ride faster in a triathlon by riding on the white line when you are riding alone.
- On bad pavement it will surprise you how much faster you can bike!
4. Ride on the fast pavement whenever you can!
- Sometimes just six inches to the left or right can be worth 1mph
- You can see details on this triathlon tip in this article: how to ride faster in a triathlon on the faster pavement without causing a crash.
5. Evaluate your triathlon bike fit
- If you can’t ride for the whole bike leg (however long it takes you to ride whatever distance you are training for) in your aero-bars, you need a better triathlon bike fit.
- It’s far more important to ride in your aero position for the entire bike leg than it is to buy an aero helmet or even to pedal really hard.
- You can do an online triathlon bike fit, or go to a good local tri shop,
- You can even do a DIY triathlon bike fit yourself with a video camera
6. Learn how to pass other triathletes on the bike efficiently via slingshot passing
- You will pass a ton of people out there- if you can save 1 second per pass by doing it smartly, it’s worth doing!
- Ride right up behind the athlete you are passing, then swing around at the last minute, having gotten a good rest while catching up behind the lead rider
- You have 15 seconds to go from 3 bike lengths behind to “your wheel passing the front wheel of the other athlete” -there is no reason not to use at least 10 of those 15 seconds!
7. Conversely, you should also learn how to be passed efficiently
- This is just a reverse slingshot pass
- Remember you have to drop out of the 3 bike length draft zone in 15 seconds
- But you might as well do it while directly behind the faster rider so you can rest while dropping back
8. Use the correct triathlon race tires to have a faster bike split with no added effort.
- While all tires may look the same (round? Check. Black? Check) there are huge differences.
- Some are crazy fast. Some are slow as riding in mud.
- A lot of research has been done on tires, and the result is a complete file of rolling resistance data (get it from the link below).
- There is a bit of a tradeoff with puncture resistance and tire speed, so read this article on how to choose the right triathlon tire for the specific race you are training for.
9. Use the correct tire sealant in your race tires so you can run fast (and slightly puncture prone) race tires without getting flats.
- There are a lot of good choices for tire sealants. My personal preference is “flat attack.”
- You can read an insane amount of detail about your tri tire sealant choices.
Running: Triathlon Tips for a Faster Run
10. Do most of your training runs SLOWER
- Most people do almost all of their runs “at the edge of discomfort.”
- This is too fast for your day-to-day run training.
- The much better method is to do almost all of your runs at a very easy, comfortable speed, and finish feeling like you could do a lot more.
- Then once a week, do a really hard speed workout.
- This will actually make you a lot faster for races, and GREATLY reduce your recovery time and risk of injury.
11. Aid station water is NOT for DRINKING
- Gatorade (or whatever with carbs and salt that they are handing out) is for drinking
- Water is for pouring on your head and keeping your hat, hair and clothes wet
- Water is not for drinking and is not for getting into your shoes (harder)
- Ice makes a huge difference, but its hard to figure out where to put it when running
- Wear one surgical/latex glove (yes you look kind of silly) and fill it with ice at the aid stations
13. Develop an efficient aid station routine
- There are 12 running aid stations in a half ironman.
- Save a few seconds at each one and it’s 4 minutes off your race time!
- Keep moving! If you stop moving you lose time and your legs get cramps. At least walk, or jog through it
- Develop a routine and stick to it- this way as you get dumb towards the end you don’t forget something
- The key thing to keep in mind is to do as little as possible in the aid station itself and to move on and do as much as you can while running.
- Here are suggestions on a routine that works,
About the author: Coach Noah is the head coach at T1 Triathlon LLC, a coaching company dedicated to meeting the needs of all triathletes, specifically including beginner triathletes, and often working with athletes training for their first Ironman. We had 3 first-time Ironman athletes this year, and one athlete race at Kona 18 months after starting triathlon. You can read about our success stories, and the services we offer.
- If you want to ask the coach a question, send him an email!
- This “Top 10 Tips” list was developed from our popular “Triathlon Tips of The Day” service
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